Title: Oasis – Experience the Paradise of Shabbos
Author: Rabbi Eliezer M. Niehaus
Publisher: Mosaica Press
When I acquire a book, it usually sits around for a while until I get around to reading it. Not Oasis – Experience the Paradise of Shabbos. I was sold on this book the moment I saw the gorgeous cover. But don’t let the cover fool you; the content inside is so much better.
I read it cover to cover in two days and then went out and purchased five copies for my parents and friends.
What is so great about this book, you ask. Most of us enjoy Shabbos. Who doesn’t like a day off spending time with family and good food? However, many of us forget (and I most certainly include myself in this group) that these aspects of Shabbos are not the end goal.
When was the last time you exited Shabbos more spiritually uplifted than when you entered? Many times we can’t wait for it to be over so that we can get back to our phones and catch up on all that we missed over the last 25 hours. How sad is that?
Shabbos is meant to be a time for us to commune with Hashem. A time to connect with ourselves and the people around us in a spiritually uplifting way. A time for us to relax and spend time recharging our neshamah for the taxing week ahead.
Everything we do on Shabbos is fraught with meaning and purpose. Rabbi Niehaus does an excellent job weaving together all the different aspects of Shabbos in this extremely readable volume. We frequently get hung up on the halacha, forgetting that the hashkafa is just as important. In the first part of the book Rabbi Niehaus goes through Shabbos chronologically pointing out the common pitfalls where we usually miss the significance in our weekly rituals.
The second half is made up of essays that bring out some of the more subtle messages of Shabbos. But for me the highlight of the book is at the end of each chapter. Rabbi Niehaus astutely understands that unless we can work these lessons into our weekly schedule we will gain only superficially. Thus he adds practical ways to apply what we learn into our Shabbos. For me this was a game changer. I can honestly say that my Shabbos is completely different due to my incorporating the suggestions into my Shabbos routine. Engaging and relatable, Rabbi Niehaus has outdone himself in bringing this vital day to life.
I wholeheartedly recommend this book for all ages, from the precocious young adult to a great grandfather. You owe it to yourself, your family and your Shabbos.